Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jan 2002
Source: Bucks County Courier Times (PA)
Copyright: 2002 Calkins Newspapers. Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.


To the editors:

There is no evidence that an invasive drug war actually decreases

Regarding your Jan. 24th editorial, please consider that the steady
rise in police searches on public transit, drug-sniffing dogs in
schools, and the drug testing of bodily fluids in America have led to
a significant loss of privacy, while failing miserably at preventing
drug use. There is no evidence that an invasive drug war actually
decreases use. If anything, zero tolerance has the opposite effect.
Based on findings that criminal records do more harm than marijuana, a
majority of European Union countries have decriminalized soft drugs
like pot. Despite harsh penalties and perhaps because of forbidden
fruit appeal, lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any
European country (see link below).

The drug war's burden on taxpayers grows each year as ever more drug
users and dealers are imprisoned. America now has the highest
incarceration rate in the world. Yet drug use continues unabated as
replacement dealers immediately step in to reap inflated illicit
market profits. The futile war on some drugs threatens the integrity
of a country founded on the concept of limited government. The Bill of
Rights is increasingly irrelevant thanks to drug war exemptions. It's
simply not possible to wage a moralistic war against consensual vices
unless privacy is completely eliminated, along with the U.S.
Constitution. America can either be a free country or a "drug-free"
country, but not both.

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug
use can be found at: HTTP://

Program Officer
The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation
Washington, D.C.
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